While Texans were going on lockdowns and wiping down groceries, Rep. Dan Crenshaw decided that he had found a perfect investment opportunity.
Amidst CARES Act negotiations in March of 2020 Crenshaw invested in companies that directly benefited from the sweeping legislation. Further, Crenshaw failed to disclose these purchases until an amendment for “clerical issues” was filed months after he submitted an initial annual report last August.
As reported in The Daily Beast, most of Crenshaw’s stock purchases—Amazon, Southwest, Boeing, energy infrastructure manufacturer SPX, and Kinder Morgan, a Texas-based company specializing in pipeline construction—came between March 25 and 27, as the Senate and House voted on the CARES Act and former President Trump signed it into law.
Crenshaw sat on the House committees for Budget and Homeland Security as Boeing lobbied heavily, and successfully, for a piece of the CARES Act.
The nonpartisan Institute on Tax and Economic Policy said at the time that it was “generally understood that the bill’s authors want much, if not all, of this $17 billion to go to a single company: Boeing.”
Furthermore, the CARES act supporter did not initially disclose the transactions, in violation of the STOCK Act, a law that requires members of Congress to tell the public when they engage in securities trades. Months later he amended his records to reflect the purchases.
“Members of Congress should not be actively trading securities in the middle of a crisis. It shows that when the market crashes, that person is thinking about themselves and using the volatility to their own advantage,” said Ben Edwards, a securities law expert and professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Las Vegas Nevada.
The CARES Act was approved by the Senate on March 25, the day Crenshaw bought stock in SPX and the S&P 500 fund, and the package passed the House the next day, when Crenshaw scooped up Southwest and Kinder Morgan, and was signed into law by Trump on March 27, the day that Crenshaw acquired his stake Boeing.
“It is nearly impossible to make decisions affecting an industry and then receive a personal financial benefit without appearing to have a conflict of interest,” said Kedric Payne, senior director of ethics at the Campaign Legal Center.